For breeding, to ensure that GLDC research is demand driven and contributing to SRF and SDGs, several activities were conducted with common bean across different countries. Field screening for stem maggot was done in Uganda and Ethiopia with 40 lines; stress- and heat-tolerant varieties and 444 lines of micronutrient-dense varieties were evaluated for agronomic performance, and grain from Uganda was sent for nutrient analysis. A total of 1667 materials were screened for various biotic and abiotic stresses. The 370 lines from Uganda included 291 sources of Angular Leaf Spot and anthracnose resistance genes, 66 ECABYT lines of both bush and climber types and 13 climber lines for test in the NPTs. In Burundi, 117 lines from five groups (NCC, NUS, MNC, NUC and MBC) of new lines were introduced from ABC Kawanda for screening following the Demand Led Breeding (DLB) approaches while focusing on product profile deployment. These were all advanced in PYT during the 2020A cropping season. Similarly, in Tanzania 30 lines were screened under different water regimes (water stress) including 100%, 75%, 50% and 25% of field capacity, while in South Africa 1150 lines were screened for abiotic and biotic resistance capacity.
A total of 1310 lines were tested at PYT and AYT and selections made. In Uganda, 522 lines were tested (364 with high Fe and high Zn as well as NUVs climbers) and 158 at AYT (including MACs, MAN and ENF -Enfermedades for anthracnose and BCMV resistance and other traits), and 55 KWP and DAP lines in Burundi. In Ethiopia, 125 lines of small red, small white, large red and large white beans were screened. In Madagascar, 14 lines were selected on the basis of yield, days to maturity, taste, and local commercial traits, of which 5 varieties performed well. Sixty-four lines for sugar, red mottled, red small and white and of both bush and climber types were screened in Tanzania. In Zimbabwe, 130 promising lines of navy, sugar, red mottled and red kidney were advanced to PYT, IVT, AYT and on-farm trials where the highest yield recorded was 3,400 kg/ha while the lowest was 900 kg/ha.
In Mozambique, 16 drought lines were tested at advanced trials where 11 lines performed well with a best yield of 985 kg/ha recorded in Gurue and the lowest of 410 kg/ha in Lichinga. In South Africa, 246 lines were selected, of which 125 were at AYT and 121 at PYT for various market classes. A total of 118 lines at various advanced testing stages were evaluated across Zambia for stress tolerance and yield. In Tanzania, 3 PVS were conducted at Karatu, Babati and Uyole mbeya for six bean varieties. In addition, training for different stakeholders including NARS was conducted that focused on developing a seed catalogue and deployment of digital seed road map linking seed production plans to grain production and marketing. As a result of working with other partners and using available digital climate information tools, over 10 climate information packages on pre-season and seasonal climate information including general weather, onset/offset of rains, incidences of extreme weather forecasts were developed, and recommended /shared for adaptation and farming decisions.
To widen the genetic base of common bean for various stresses within the red mottled, yellow and sugar bean market classes, 245 segregating lines were identified. In Uganda, 25 lines were advanced from two- to three-way crosses that were intended to incorporate resistance to Anthracnose, ALS and/or root rot. While in South Africa, 180 sugar lines were advanced, several lines were evaluated for high Fe and Zn; disease tolerance and yield at advanced trials resulting in 5 lines being selected for on-farm trials in Eswatini. These included CIM-RM-07-ALS-67, CZ 113-15 (SAB 630), DAB 381, CIM-SUG-05-01-02 and GLP 2/MLB 49-89A-1. In Zambia, about 40 advanced segregating lines were evaluated in 4 sites (UNZA, Kabwe, Mpika and Misamfu).
For scaling of activities, 3731 demonstrations were conducted for varieties and complementary Integrated Crop Management (ICM) in Ethiopia (2348), Tanzania (918), Zimbabwe (342), Uganda (48), Mozambique (43), Lesotho (4) and Burundi (28). Demonstration plots were carried out with the active participation of farmers, input suppliers and development organizations/extension service providers to evaluate their preferences to promote adoption of promising bean-based technologies. For example, in Tanzania the demonstration plots were set up under a school feeding program in collaboration with agro dealers, seed companies (East Africa Seed Company, Beula Seed Company and Agricultural Seed Agency), development partners (RECODA, Union store, BAJWA Farmers, Youth Peace Makers, World Vision, DORCAS), grain traders and local government authorities (Meru, Mbulu, and Karatu district councils). Furthermore, during these demonstrations, the grain traders (offtakers) including BAYMAC, Union Stores and Bajwa Ltd started identifying some of the varieties to commercialize and established linkages with small holder grain producers. In Burundi, demonstration plots were carried out with the active participation of farmers to evaluate their preferences to promote adoption of promising bean-based technologies.
Regarding market and nutrition, training programs were organized to focus on engaging government and private sector partners to build the capacity of women and youth entrepreneurs in agri-business and digital payments. These efforts will continue over the next six months with a strategic focus on building women and youth entrepreneurs amidst cultural challenges such as limited access to finance, lack of confidence and the triple burden of homecare. To improve market linkages, 74 bean business platforms were established or strengthened in 15 countries. They will serve as a tool for linkages between producers and grain marketers aimed at restructuring markets and increasing income for women producers, and an opportunity to bargain in household decision-making with the inclusion of women. Additionally, this platform encourages private sector participation to catalyze activities like scaling up bean processing facilities of Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs)through the provision of blended finance. Nutritious bean-based products were promoted together with education on nutrition to target consumption hubs among rural and urban consumers. This targeted the private sector besides increasing awareness among women and youth on the nutritional value of bean-based products. As a result, six countries have developed brochures, posters, recipe books, leaflets, pamphlets, flyers, books and even Scaling Up Nutrition (SUN) documentation to educate on and promote the consumption of bean/bean products available in local and regional markets.
Using the bean corridor approach, FP6 continues to facilitate accelerated access to quality climate resilient, farmer and market preferred bean varieties across many African countries. For instance, in the southern Highlands of Tanzania, improved access to seed has facilitated the diffusion of new improved varieties; reaching 3.3% additional farming families per year between 2016 and 2018. In Rwanda, about 50% of bean-producing households adopted climbing bean by 2018.
In Tanzania, bean yield has been increasing at an average annual rate of 2.7%, from 1.3% in the last decade. This can be partly attributed to greater use of new improved varieties that increase harvest per hectare by 32%, resulting in a 38% increase in marketed surplus. In Rwanda, the adoption of improved varieties accompanied by a shift from bush to climbing bean cultivars represents a significant achievement for bean research, contributing to 1.7% of annual growth since the year 2000 (computed from FAO data accessed in March 2020).